Police arrest 63 in ‘fraud’ probe

Police in Cardiff have arrested 63 people in connection with an alleged £300,000 education grants fraud.

South Wales Police said the number of arrests could reach 120 when the investigation intoCardiff City Council’s allocation of grants for further education courses is completed.

Council auditors exposed the alleged fraud last October after an inquiry into use of tax payers’ money.

Police are focusing on whether council officials were pressurised or intimidated into approving grants for college courses, including A-Levels, for students aged 16 to 19.

“Files of evidence are being prepared for the Crown Prosecution Service,” said Detective Chief Inspector Graham Lloyd, Head of Cardiff Central CID.

“It is anticipated that the inquiry will take at least another six months to conclude with a similar number of people yet to be arrested.”

‘Questions must be asked’

Three employees of the Labour-run executive’s education grants department have been sacked since the scandal came to light, one of whom is appealing against the dismissal.

The council’s opposition leader, Liberal Democrat Dr Rodney Berman, said: “Questions must be asked as to what lax procedures the Labour-run administration has allowed to be in place in the education department for this to go unnoticed.”

He said more heads should roll “if the scandal is as great as being predicted.”

The investigation continues.